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6 Steps to Writing an Hour Speech in 48 Hours

So, you’ve got to give a presentation and you do what most people do—procrastinate. Right? I’m a professional speaker and that means I’m a pro at putting off working on material. You know how it is. You’re busy binge-watching House of Cards and of course, you’ve got to organize your spice rack—even though all you have is Lawry’s Seasoned Salt. And all of a sudden: bam! That deadline you’ve had weeks to prepare for is two days away. 

Last week, I got a big gig and in big trouble. The good news: it was a repeat client. The bad news: it was a repeat client—meaning it would be the exact same audience. It’s one thing for Prince to sing "Purple Rain" over and over again, but nobody tells a comic, “Do that joke about your grandmother and the sperm bank again.” (It's a good one, though.)
So, after a few panic attacks and martinis, it dawned on me—I wrote an entire book on writing speeches. I cracked it open, followed my own advice, and ended up writing a hit speech! (But let’s hope the client doesn't ask me back for a third time because I can’t handle the amount of Weight Watcher points in a Cucumber-Mint Martini. (Delicious. Ask me for the recipe.)
Here are the six steps to writing a great speech in a pinch:
1. Open with a story about a member of the audience. One of the WORST openings is, “Let me tell you a little bit about myself.” Boring! Who cares? Find out who will be attending and call them up so they can give you insider information about their favorite topic: themselves! Everyone loves a great story about THEMSELVES.
2. Tell them the promise of your speech, guaranteeing that they’ll leave learning stuff that will help them make more money, get healthier, or have better relationships. 
3. Establish your credibility by telling a story about how your techniques helped someone become happier, richer, healthier, sexier. Be as humble as you want out there in the real world, but on stage, don’t shy away from shameless self-promotion. Name drop that time you shared the platform with Hillary—unless you're speaking at a Tea Party event. Refer to your published works. “I remember this one time while having lunch with Oprah…” Again, unless you're at a Tea Party event. 
4. Guide them with your fab action steps. Give specific advice on how they can move forward. Give three tips and tell a story about how you discovered each of them and why they work. Any more than three steps means you’re writing the Unabomber manifesto. 
5. Give an emotional heartfelt story. Even if you are a techie talking about computer programming, you need to reveal something about yourself. Tell them that emotional story about how your first kiss lead to discovering PHP programming. 
6. Leave them with a call-to-action. In corporate speak, this is called "The Take-Aways." Give the audience a simple command to get their sh*t together. Don’t get too long winded with homework, but ask them to “imagine,” “think about…,” or “buy your book at the back of the room!”
Give your speech, sell your products, go home, and enjoy that drink. You deserve it! 
Get a free MP3 of How to Make Money from Speaking at Judycarter.com(link is external)
Join Judy at her NYC Workshop to discover The Message of You on May 2 - 3. More info(link is external)

Should We Be Upset By Trevor Noah’s Controversial Tweets?

Trevor Noah is in hot water over a few not-so-hot tweets. The South African comic came under fire after Comedy Central announced he would replace Jon Stewart as host of The Daily Show. His offense: tweets that targeted Jews and women. What are your reactions to his posts? (Spoiler alert: fat chicks, Jewish chicks, and tight asses—be prepared to bristle. Proceed with caution.)
“'Oh yeah the weekend. People are gonna get drunk & think that I'm sexy!' - fat chicks everywhere”
“Messi gets the ball and the real players try foul him, but Messi doesn't go down easy, just like Jewish chicks. #ElClasico”
“Almost bumped a Jewish kid crossing the road. He didn't look b4 crossing but I still would have felt so bad in my German car!”
I understand that when it comes to mass tweeting, they can't all be gems. And tweeting while drinking might be more hazardous than driving under the influence. Jeb Bush’s tech officer Ethan Czahor resigned (aka got fired) after people went through his backlog of tweets and found he had referred to women as “sluts” and also made derogatory remarks about gay men.
(BTW—at this point, how many of you are now mass deleting your drunken-attempt-at-humor tweets?)
But, should comics be held accountable when they push the edge of appropriateness? After all, we comics don’t have a HR department lording over us.
There was a time when nothing was off limits and comedy clubs were rampant expressions of homophobia and misogyny. Audiences now feel empowered to express themselves, as Jamie Foxx discovered at the iHeartRadio Music Awards when his opening monologue was booed. He’d gone after Bruce Jenner, who has been pictured everywhere as he is transitioning into a woman.
“We have some groundbreaking performances here, too, tonight. We got Bruce Jenner, who will be here doing some musical performances. He’s doing a his-and-her duet all by himself.”
“Look,” he added. “I’m just busting your balls while I still can.” – Jamie Foxx
Comedy is NOT about alienation, shock, or hatred. It’s supposed to be about laughter. And there is a basic rule to comedy—don’t tell jokes that further oppress people. So, a straight black male cannot make the other gender the butt of his jokes. Unless, of course, he reveals how ONE woman did him wrong and deserves ridiculing. The message is clear—joke fairly.
Richard Pryor broke the comedy race barrier joking about racism. One of his tamer jokes is:
“I woke up in an ambulance. And it wasn’t nothing but white people staring at me. I said, ‘Ain’t this a bitch. I done died and wound up in the wrong muthafucking heaven.’”
He could say that because he was black. Taking a dig at your own kind is not a punishable offense, especially in comedy clubs. If Jamie Foxx identified as transgender, the audience probably would have laughed. He would have been taking a dig at himself. Note to Jamie: not too late.
Noah committed the same offense by taking cheap shots. He doesn't fall into any of those targeted categories. American audiences are balking that he’s taking over our coolest show. We want to trust the new host and believe he speaks for us.
Note to all late night talk show hosts: knock off the misogyny! Honor the legacy of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, who made us laugh like crazy without offending women, Jews, or gays.
What do you think? Have you written some tweets that might get you into some hot water in a few years? I’m taking a poll—is it OK or not OK to laugh at this material?
Let me know in your comments.

Entrepreneurs: 8 Tips for Telling Your Hero Story

If you are an entrepreneur, a salesperson, a comic, or a speaker, there is a story that you need to know and tell.  It's the story that will engage your audience, make them laugh, and motivate them to buy your products and services. What is this amazing story? It is the story of why what you do isn't just a job... but a calling. It is your HERO STORYRead more on Psychology Today... 

How Being Funny Can Save You Money

Having a sense of humor can save you money. I learned that while working as a comic. Open mic nights aren’t as good for fattening up your bank account, which can truly be a sad joke. Self-made millionaires have said (not to me personally) that dramatically cutting expenses increases one’s income. I’ve found out that when you make someone laugh, they feel positively toward you and are more likely to have your back and make cuts in your favor... Read more.. 

3 Speaking Tips From Oscar Winners: Legendary speeches at Oscars 2015

Were the Oscars taken over by motivational speakers this year?  Is John Legend the next Tony Robbins? Judging by the results, it certainly seems so.

Rather than giving mindless thank yous, this year’s winners shared MESSAGES. You can change the world in less than one minute, and speakers can definitely learn a thing or two from this.
TIP ONE: Have a call-to-action – A call-to-action is an instruction to the audience to do something. At the end of J.K. Simmons’ emotional acceptance speech, he told the 1 billion plus people watching, “Go call your parents… If you’re lucky enough to have a parent or two alive, call them! Don’t text. Don’t email. Call them! Listen to them for as long as they want to talk to you."  Now that’s a powerful call-to-action!
TIP TWO:  Have a point of view – Several winners used their time at the podium to share their feelings on different issues.  Patricia Arquette spoke out for feminism when she declared: “It's our time to have wage equality” as she accepted her Oscar for Boyhood.
Reese Witherspoon echoed my blog “Don’t Waste your Red Carpet Time” (link is external)when she called out Hollywood for ignoring real issues in favor of chat about dresses as part of the #askhermore campaign.
John Legend, who won for Best Song, made a strong statement. “Selma is now because the struggle for justice is right now… We live in the most incarcerated country in the world. There are more black men under correctional control today then were under slavery in 1850.” Wow! I had tears in my eyes.
Best Actor Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything) spoke about ALS while Best Actress Julianne Moore (Still Alice) used her time to talk about Alzheimer's.Birdman director Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu called for respect for Mexican immigrants during his acceptance speech. “We are with you, we see you, we love you, and march on.”
TIP THREE: Reveal your own journey from mess to success.  Perhaps no one gave a more powerful speech than Graham Moore, who won the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for The Imitation Game. He used his time at the podium to give a highly personal speech about suicide awareness and depression. "I tried to commit suicide at 16, and now I'm standing here," he said. "I would like for this moment to be for that kid out there who feels like she doesn’t fit in anywhere. You do. Stay weird. Stay different, and then when it's your turn and you are standing on this stage, please pass the same message along."
Wow! It’s been a long time since the Oscars speeches were as substantial and motivational as this.  Hooray for Hollywood!

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Judy's Blog

Judy Carter blogs on comedy, storytelling and public speaking techniques, using personal stories and her adventures as a stand-up comic turned motivational public speaker. Her weekly blogs are read by fans of her books, “The Comedy Bible” (Simon and Schuster) and “The Message of You” (St. Martin’s Press), which include comics, speakers, and entrepreneurs. She is also known for teaching the value of humor and storytelling to businesses as a leadership and stress reduction tool.